Monday, February 23, 2009

Knitting and Fable

No, there isn't a fable in today's post. One about the follies of a young girl and a fish. No. If I were exceptionally clever and whatnot, perhaps I would have prepared such a thing, but it really only just occured to me. I'd rather just get a new post up, if that's okay with you, dear reader.

Maybe I'll try to get the eldest child, pictured here with the fish hat eating her head, to write a story about The Girl and the Fish. If it works, I'll post the story.

As you can see, hat #1 is finished! I think it is just almost too small for her head, but she is happy with it. The pattern is apparently written for children, so if you want to make it for an adult (ahem), add extra stitches. This is knit up with various shades of Cascade 220 in random order, but with an intent to focus on the red. Her favorite color. She took it to school last week (finished Thursday night) to show her classmates. It was a hit with everyone except the teacher. She is strangely silent whenever my daughter has brought something to share with the class. I don't know if she is always neutral with all the kids or what, but I think it really bugs my daughter to get zero reaction from the teacher. I mean, DD knows the hat is silly, that is sort of the point of having and wearing the thing. It isn't like I forced it on her. OTOH, the girls thought it was cute (I think), and the boys told her it looked like a fish sucking her brains out. For some reason, that made her happy.

The next hat has been cast on, with pink as the focus, for DD2. I haven't really gotten that far, but it is on the needles, so will get attention in the early evenings, I imagine. I'd like to get it finished before it stops being cold. Not a huge issue up here in the Pacific Northwest, I guess, but it is February and Spring is just around the corner. Not that you'll be able to tell by the "change" in our weather. lol The hat is a super fast knit if you work on it regularly and don't ignore it for days on end. The color changes are a bit fiddly, for me, but it is good to try new things, no? The 2nd hat will be pinks, yellow and purple. I think. DD2 picked out the colors.

What else? Well, I've been working on a heel flap for the Princess Toadstool socks for the Bleeping Sock Games KAL. I haven't done well with this KAL. I've been far busier than I expected, and to be totally honest, the patterns haven't been as inspiring as they were for the Scarefest Sock KAL. Guess my heart belongs to horror... eeeewwwww! lol I hesitate to say the patterns haven't been good, they just aren't rocking my world. I think the concept was great, but perhaps we needed more time for some solid patterns to come forth. I will say that the pattern for the Viva Pinata socks is pretty spot on. (That's a Ravelry link there, I couldn't find one off-Rav.) Lots of color work, though, and I don't have any colors in my stash that would do them justice (think BRIGHT pinata).

I'm thinking about a vampire sock yarn club thing starting up in May, though. Sign-ups are next month and all I really need to decide is how many shipments I want to sign up for. sigh Patterns will be included, so, more socks in my future if I will do them. Or, shawls, I guess. The fingering weight yarn would certainly be nice in a shawl. This yarn club is hosted by Fresh from the Cauldron, who has some really lovely colorways. And a delightfully gruesome imagination at times. There's a forum with this name (Fresh... Cauldron) on Ravelry if your interested, signups start March 1.

I've also been working a good bit on the Pi shawl. You remember that one, right? Frogged at every turn, ripping back dozens of rows due to knitter error, etc. sigh Man, this has been a crazy knit. I might have been better off to have ditched it in the laceweight and switched to a heavier yarn, but I shall persevere! I have almost, almost caugth up to where I was when I last ripped back about 20 rows. It is going very smoothly, funny how that works when you are actually following the directions correctly, and it has been (dare I say it?) a soothing knit of late. Still, miles to go before it is done, but I am once again making progress of a few rows a day. Slow and steady, and all that.

The sweater is going well and is still a swim class knit (swim for the girls, I'm there over an hour watching them). I haven't picked it up in a week, but we didn't swim last week. The pool was closed Tuesday, which is good because I was sick all week.

The girls gave me some crud, a sinusy sort of thing, not the stomach bug that's been going around. Fine with me, that's the way I'd prefer it if I got to choose. I was chilled as if feverish, but I never found myself actually having a fever. Perhaps my thermometer is flawed. Anyway, I was not only ill, but got rather down in the dumps as well. So, I sat around and played Fable II (Xbox 360) all week once they were all out of the house.

Himself brought it home a couple of weeks ago, and commenced to play. I turned my eye the other way. He allowed the kids to start a game (monitored by us, and they do have a limit on how far they can go in the game. It is rated M, but the early bits aren't bad & the kids are happy with what they are allowed to do.) I continued to remail aloof. I got sick, all bets were off and I vented my misery all week by killing trools, balverines, Hobbes, and bandits, etc. I had to force myself to do other things too. If I put in laundry, I could play for a while. I did a lot of laundry. When I finished the main quest, I was a bit surprised to find that even in games I can't seem to keep color in my hair. heh. By the end of the main quest, I had bulked up, gone completely white-haired, had glowing lines all over (magic use) and had a halo, for goodness sakes!, because I'm so darned pure of heart.

If only real life were so easy. Now I can continue to play and go on other quests, own business (I already own 5 or 6), etc. Or not. We'll see how it goes. It was nice to have the game around to keep me busy. Knitting was not appealing most of the week, in part because of the game, and I just couldn't seem to settle. Still, last week was a good reminder of why I should avoid RPG type video games. I was pretty obsessed, played every chance I got and nearly dreamed the game.

Mini review of game: It rocks! There are definitely reasons younger folks shouldn't play, the violence isn't bad, though you do kill lots of people/things, no real blood, etc., but you can have sex, marry, have kids, etc. I haven't, but that does ramp up the adult theme a bit. My 8 yo doesn't need to find condoms as treasure (I only found 1 or 2) or deal with the prostitutes offering to "entertain" them. That comes a good bit later in the game, though, so that's why they can only play so far, then they have to stop. It would have been nice to have some sort of option for more conversational speech with other characters at times, but it was still a fascinating and rather rich universe.

I kicked some serious butt, though. grin

I'm feeling much more myself today, still a bit stuffy, but not bad at all. Now it is back to the regular routine. I hope. Now that the major baddies are gone, the lure of the game is somewhat lessened. I really do have stuff to do now.

Friday, February 06, 2009

Healthy updates

Well, the labs are back for Himself, and all is clear! We are so very, very grateful! The plan is for him to have check-ups every three months for some unknown period of time. I have no idea what they will do at these appointments (needle biopsies?), nor do I know how long he will be on the 3-month plan. I also do not know if I do not know because the doctor doesn't know, or because Himself can't be bothered to ask proper questions. I have my suspicions, but I just don't know.


That is a big weight off of us, and the little screaming person in my brain can now sit down and shut up. There is a visit to the dermatologist coming up to check for any additional "areas of concern". Again, I just don't know. Might as well ask the 6 year old...

I have spent the week assisting in science lab for the eldest DD. They've been doing 'investigations' on 5 Unknowns. I was helping with the heat testing. Apparently, I'm competent enough to play with fire at school. All the third grade classes had a rotation through our classroom to participate in the heat tests on the 5 Unknowns. It was fun, but a bit draining. How on earth a bunch of 3rd graders can decide that melting sugar smells like chicken or broccoli, well, I just don't want to know. I found that once they set their minds on a thing, they could not be turned short of me giving them the answer (which I'm not allowed to do). Also, giving detailed instructions to groups of five 3rd graders over and over again is like, well, herding 5 different cats, over and over again.

Teachers Rule! I sure couldn't do it!

It was fun, but I feel like I've been living at the school all week. In my spare moments, I popped into the library and did some shelving. My head hurts at the disorder and I'm dying to just start shelf-reading to get everything tidy. My saner self, the one that doesn't like to be in pain, says just let it go because it wouldn't last 2 minutes. I'm really trying to go with the saner self this time.

Here's the progress I'm making on the Fish Hat. There are short rows for shaping at the mouth, but then it is just stockinette & some decreases for a while. This is the perfect mindless knitting for the end of the day. However, I'm not crazy about the red at the beginning. I was going for a very red fish, because red is DD1's favorite color. Right now, it looks too heavy all together like that. I'm hoping I can balance the look at the end and with the fins. We'll see how I do. I don't guess I've ever done a striped project before that wasn't self-striping yarn. Live and learn, I guess. Besides, she won't care at all. I guess I could have fixed it, but I really didn't want to turn something so simple into a big ripping event.

Also new, I have learned to make my own stitch markers. Not necessarily well, but there you go. A friend from church showed me how to do it, she makes lovely, lovely jewelry. She isn't a knitter, but I showed her an example of one, and she very generously gave of her time to teach me. I now have to try to contain myself and not make 500 of them. Well, I guess if I made 500 I could sell them, but you know what I mean. I don't need any new collectable hobbies. I need to stick to knitting and spinning. Right? Right. Beads will suck out my soul and take time from my knitting.

Anyway, here's my first set. It is all mine, though I originally intended to gift it to a January birthday buddy of mine. I decided not gift it because I'm not sure the ends are smooth enough to avoid snagging the yarn. I thought I'd give them a test use and see how they work out. She wants to learn to cable this year, so maybe she can use them. OTOH, she isn't super-savvy and might not notice they were snagging (if they snag), so I'd rather practice a little more. You know, for her sake. So, I'll practice the technique and then make her a set or two.